By John Moore
NXT TV on the WWE Network
Taped November 17, 2017 in San Antonio, Texas at the Aztec Theatre
The NXT intro theme video played. As a note, Ruby Riot and Sonya Deville are still in the video with Andrade Almas holding the championship. Mauro Ranallo and Percy Watson were on commentary. No Nigel for this episode. Percy talked about Moustache Mountain vs. Pete Dunne and Mark Andrews for later on. Mauro hyped up the previously advertised Kairi Sane vs. Peyton Royce match…
1. Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford vs. Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss. Drake Younger was the referee and looking a lot less orange than he did the next day (this was taped a day before Takeover). Moss and Dawkins started off the match. Mauro talked about Moss being a former football football player from the University of Minnesota. Watson talked about how Dawkins was a three-time national champion (not sure at what?). Moss dominated with a waistlock takedown. Dawkins returned the favor with three off the same move, which the crowd asked for.
Mauro assured the viewers that Nigel McGuinness will be back on commentary next week. Dawkins set Moss up with a body slam. Ford tagged in and danced a bit. Dawkins did a back body drop on Ford to make him land on Moss. Moss managed to get Sabbatelli tagged in. Sabbatelli hit an impressive high cross body block and then ran around to brag about it. Ford did a kip up as he rotated his shoulders. Ford hit a dropkick on Sabbatelli. The Profits hit Sabbatelli with a double flapjack. [C]
There was a NXT Takeover: Philadelphia ad during the break. It did feature Drew McIntyre front and center (and still no update as to how severe Drew’s injury is). Ford tried to fight off both opponents during after the break but they overpowered him. Sabbatelli maintained dominance with the ground and pound. Sabbatelli yelled at both profits as well. Moss and Sab played the isolation game with quick tags. Moss comically did the Montez Ford dance.
Moss ended a small Ford rally with some right hands. The crowd fired up with a “let’s go Montez” chant. Ford caused Moss to crash hard by sidestepping Moss. Dawkins made it into the ring for the hot tag. Dawkins hit consecutive 360 stinger splashes on his opponents. Moss kept Dawkins from picking up the pinfall. Dawkins used right hands to dispose of both opponents. Sabbatelli kicked out of a pin which caused Dawkins to run into the right hand of Moss. Sabbatelli tried to steal the pin with Moss preventing a kickout but Drake Younger noticed that Moss was holding the legs of Dawkins down illegally. Ford took out Moss with a cannonball. Ford tagged in and hit a frog splash on Sabbatelli for the win.
The Street Profits defeated Riddick Moss and Tino Sabbatelli via pinfall in 8:50 of TV time.
The crowd cheered the profits. Ford did a dance on top of some ringside speakers while doing his signature shoulder rotation.
John’s Thoughts: I’m still not a huge fan of airing house shows but in this case, it’s due to scheduling and running out of first run TV material as opposed to last year where it seemed like they were just being (unintentionally) lazy. At least with this match they set it up with weeks of vignettes. As for the match we saw, it was a good developmental showcase with both teams showing flashes of what would take them to the next level. Ford has the “it” factor, but he still needs more in ring seasoning as evidenced from his limited offense. Moss and Dawkins are great workers who need to find a bit more personality, but that’s coming along. I saw a bit more out of Sabbatelli here. He always comes off as a guy trying to “play” pro wrestler. Here he showed he can be a bit of a hothead so maybe being a hothead should be his character?
They cut to footage from after the Pete Dunne vs. Johnny Gargano match from last week’s episode. It was a WWE reunion of the British Strong Style trio (which WWE never acknowledge). Pete Dunne ran into Trent Seven and Tyler Bate backstage. Seven talked about how Dunne made the UK proud. Bate said what wasn’t proud was leaving Wolfgang to be beaten up by the Undisputed Era. Bate proposed that Dunne find a tag team partner so that they can have a “British Strong Style” Tag Team match. Dunne waved them off wand walked away.
From “earlier today” Christy St. Cloud interviewed the Moustache Mountain guys. Trent Seven reiterated how Pete Dunne left Wolfgang high and dry. Bate said he and Seven are going to teach Dunne a lesson. Bate said Andrews and Dunne aren’t even a real tag team while “we are Moustache Mountain”. They cut to a Mark Andrews interview. Andrews said he goes a long way back with Dunne and they aren’t friends. Andrews said he made an agreement with Dunne that if their team wins that Mark Andrews gets a WWE UK Championship title shot… [C]
A Lars Sullivan behind a chain link fence music video vignette aired during the commercial (WWE’s main roster needs to do this more often, both for their regular and especially their new wrestlers). Kairi Sane came out to her new Yo-ho pirate theme music. Kairi gets announced as the “Winner of the Mae Young Classic” during her ring introductions. Also to note, Mike Rome wasn’t doing the introductions during this house show. Maybe he’s the MC which I thought he did a good job at when he MC’d the San Jose house shows I attended. Mauro talked about how Sane was the smallest size wise in the Mae Young…
John’s Thoughts: I talk about how I feel bad that Royce and Kay have to keep losing matches and come off like Tony Nese and Drew Gulak in terms of being the designated enhancement tag team, but in a way they are handcuffed due to their booking. As I’ve also mentioned, the NXT Women’s division has no strong heels. When Asuka was playing heel, she was protected due to the streak so Royce and Kay had to eat all of the losses. I don’t expect Royce to win here (I didn’t look at spoilers since I didn’t expect them to air a house show).
2. Kairi Sane vs. Peyton Royce. Sane did her cute death stare into Royce. Royce quickly took down Sane with a string right forearm. Royce took down Sane with a side hiptoss. Sane blocked another hiptoss with a victory roll attempt. Sand dodged all of Royce’s moves causing Royce to show frustration. Sane had a little bit of a rally. Kay distracted Sane and Sane hit her signature back kick to lead to a nearfall. Sane tried to win with a small package. Royce escaped and maintained momentum with a lariat. [C]
Royce dominated back from the break. Sane gained a bit of breathing room after hitting Royce like a missile with a spear. Sane hit a few forearms and a blockbuster on Royce. Sane then hit her walk the plank forearm. Royce sidestepped Sane and hit a running knee on her. Sane took down Royce with two axe kicks. Sane shoulder tackled Kay off the apron. Sane hit Royce with the InSane elbow for the win.
Kairi Sane defeated Peyton Royce via pinfall in 5:24 of TV time.
Sane started to dance to her theme with the crowd while celebrating on the turnbuckles…
John’s Thoughts: A good win for Sane. She should be steamrolling people after winning the Mae Young, but I don’t like Royce being the one put in the steamrolling path since it looked like they had one window of opportunity to make a strong heel out of her following the Asuka departure. Royce (booking wise) has taken a step back and I feel like they are never going to treat her as a big deal. Maybe, if they decide to make her the alpha over Billie Kay, but seeing is believing on that one.
A recap package aired on the Ruby Riot vs. Sonya Deville match from last week. Nigel talked about how Ruby’s leg was the story of the match with Riot picking up a desperation win. Ruby Riott (now spelled with two T’s) vs. Sonya Deville was then announced for next week in a no holds barred match… [C]
John’s Thoughts: A bit surprised to see that one, but I’m glad they’re continuing through with the story they wanted to tell with Riot and Deville. Deville looked the best she’s ever done in WWE in that match against Riot last week so it would be cool to see if she can have a similar performance in a match that falls more in her submission/MMA wheelhouse.
After the break the commentators had a discussion regarding the Andrade Cien Almas title win as they replayed the ending of the Drew McIntyre vs. Andrade Almas match. Percy Watson focused on Drew favoring his bicep after the match. They showed Drew being checked on by the doctors after the match. They also showed Drew’s tweet recently where he acknowledged that he was going to be gone for a while. Mauro said Andrade Almas is on the front page of Mexico’s biggest Lucha Libre magazine and announced that next week the viewers are getting an Andrade Almas “Championship Celebration”.
Tyler Bate and Trent Seven came out to Bate’s theme. Even though they’ve been acknowledging the duo as “Moustache Mountain” Seven and Bate wore matching “British Strong Style” gear…
3. Tyler Bate and Trent Seven vs. Pete Dunne and Mark Andrews. The crowd was fired up for “The Bruiserweight” Pete Dunne. Dunne and Bate started off the match. The crowd fired up with a “U-K” chant. Mauro noted that based on Dunne’s body language, he wasn’t keen on teaming up with Andrews. Dunne and Bate had a stalemate early in the match. Dunne teased tagging in Andrews but then used the tag fake to fake out Bate with a right hand. Andrews was tagged. Bate escaped a cravate.
Bate escaped and hit Andrews with dropkick and then tagged in Seven. Seven planted Andrews with a fireman carry slam. Bate hit Andrews with an assisted senton bomb. Andrews showed off some of his lucha libre with fast paced offense on Seven. Dunne tagged himself in and utilized his joint manipulation on Seven. Seven escaped with a chop. Seven faked out Dunne with a feint chop, yelled “cheers”, and planted Dunne with a DDT. Dunne took advantage of a referee missing his tag to blindside Seven who was distracted by Andrews unintentionally.
John’s Thoughts: It’s psychology like this as to why I’ve become a fan of Progress. What they lack in vignettes and video packages, they make up for by telling intricate storylines in the ring.
Andrews worked over Seven back from the break with an armbar. Dunne and Andrews improvised a nice codebreaker backstabber combo. Dunne worked over Seven with shortarm boots. Dunne hit double knees with some more joint manipulation. Andrews tagged himself in and glared at Dunne. Dunne slapped Andrews in the back hard to tag himself in during an Andrews armbar. Dunne waved off Andrews. Seven hit a Rainmaker on Dunne while Dunne was distracted by Andrews. Bate made the hot tag. Bate hit Dunne with a shoryuken. Bate followed up with a running European Uppercut. Bate caught a flying Dunne and hit him with an exploder. Bate hit a running Shooting Star after a kip up.
Bate escaped the Tyler Driver and tagged in Andrews. Andrews hit a double stomp on Bate and standing corkscrew moonsault. Bate caught Andrews with a knee. Andrews came right back with an enziguri. Even though they showed reluctance, Andrews and Dunne hit a frankensteiner into a power bomb. That was great! Bate recovered and hit his signature feint southpaw punch. Seven tagged in and hit a dragon suplex. Bate went for a jackknife pin but Andrews pulled Bate off. Dunne took out both opponents. Bate took down Dunne with a rolling kick. Bate hit a deadlift German on Dunne but Dunne tagged Andrews while in the air. Andrews hit the shooting star press on Bate for the great nearfall. Mark Andrews missed the next shooting star. Bate dizzied Andrews with the airplane spin.
Dunne tagged himself in to roll up a dizzy Bate. Dunne caught bate with a right hand. Bate did a rebound like Son of Havoc off the ropes and then took down Dunne with a lariat. Bate fired himself up and hit the Tyler Driver 97′ on Dunne to pick up the clean win.
Moustache Mountain defeated Pete Dunne and Mark Andrews via pinfall in about 10:50 of TV Time.
Seven hugged Bate after the match. They showed off highlights from some of the cool tag team interactions in the match. Andrews looked disappointed after the match. Dunne did what he usually does and landed a cheap shot on the back of Dunne. Dunne left to his theme music as Andrews rolled around in pain. Suddenly, Dunne wasn’t finished with Andrews as he ran back into the ring to plant him with a Bitter End Flatliner.
John’s Thoughts: Hot damn. I see why they didn’t want to sit on that tag team match because it was splendid. I didn’t expect Mark Andrews and Pete Dunne to have such great tag team chemistry, even more than the Moustache Mountain guys. They told the story of the reluctant tag team partners with a nice unique twist where their reluctance led to some innovative and fluid spots. This also goes to show why PROGRESS Wrestling is so entertaining to watch because you get to see hours and hours of matches like this on their on-demand. Seven has still yet to win me over and I think he makes a much better heel. It’s also so fun to watch Mark Andrews after being so annoyed at reviewing “Mandrews” matches for several years. Not to mention, the name “Mandrews” was annoying as hell. Andrews is a British Luchador through-and-through and stands out with such a unique moveset.
What was even more fun was the post-match attack by Dunne on Andrews. The crowd ate it up, but it was cool to see Dunne still play heel in the US since he’s one of the best pure heels in professional wrestling due to him just getting it. He’s extremely young but comes off as a season veteran as to the textbook ways of being a heel. He is just a pure A-hole and he doesn’t fall into the chickenshiz clichés of most pro wrestling heels. He also doesn’t come off as weak. I don’t get why most companies including WWE try to make their heels out to be weak doofuses.
Check out this show. I don’t want to see them go back to airing house shows on the regular but when they have a nice match like this on tape, why not showcase it when they run out of first run TV material. I’ll be back later on today with my all access audio review for the show.